When your pet turtles are in captivity, they don’t have access to direct sunlight. However, sunlight is essential for the proper development of your turtles. Lack of sun will jeopardize your turtle’s growth, which will impact their health.
There are two main reasons why your turtles need sunlight; first, sunlight gives off heat, keeping turtles warm since they are cold-blooded. The second reason is that sunlight gives off a special kind of light called Ultraviolet B light, or UVB in short.
UVB is responsible for the absorption of Vitamin D3, which helps in calcium absorption. Calcium helps properly develop your turtles’ bones, including the shell.
When your pet turtles are in a cage inside the house, you will need to come up with a substitute for sunlight. The two commonly used substitutes are a heat lamp and a UVB bulb.
You can use a normal bulb that gives off light and heat for a heat lamp, and your turtle will be okay. However, you will need to get a special kind of bulb for the UVB bulb that emits this light.
Here is The Top 8 UVB Bulbs For Turtles
What Is A UVB Light?
A UVB light, as mentioned above, is a light crucial for the proper development of your turtles. It helps in the proper development of those turtles without direct access to sunlight. Without it, the production of vitamin D3 in these turtles is hindered, thus hampering calcium absorption.
In the absence of calcium, your turtle’s health is at significant risk. With time, your beloved pet turtle may start developing problems like poor shell development, weak bone structure, poor appetite, shell pyramiding (scutes irregularly developing), difficulty walking, soft or sometimes rubbery shells.
It is a scenario that no pet turtle owner would like to find themselves in.
Apart from the above negative impacts, your turtle may also suffer from anorexia. Calcium helps in the contraction of muscles, including the digestive tract.
When there is little calcium in the body, muscle contraction reduces, affecting digestion. A turtle who suffers from this disease will eat less and eventually die.
All these are adverse effects that will significantly affect the development of your turtle. Getting a UVB light will help reduce these factors to a great extent.
The good thing is that UVB bulbs are readily available, and all that you need to know is which bulb will best serve your turtles.
There will be poor and uneven development of shells in hatchlings if you do not provide a UVB light source.
Also, a female turtle may fail to lay its eggs properly, retaining some in the body. The eggs may also have a weak shell since calcium is the most significant mineral in eggshells.
1. Zoo Med Aquatic UVB and Heat Lighting Kit
The Zoo Med UVB light and heat kit is an all-in-one box with the UVB bulb and a 50-watt halogen heat lamp. Apart from the lamp, it comes with a double socket fixture that allows you to connect both the bulb and the lamp. You will also get a 13-watt 5.0 Reptisun mini compact fluorescent lamp.
The dual sockets can support up to 100- watts, which is the limit for these bulbs. Double sockets will enable you to control the two independently. However, the cords are short, and you might need extension cables in some cases.
The Zoo Med Aquatic UVB kit has two polished aluminum dome that amplifies the strength of your light and UV output by about 30%, making the bulb efficient. It also protects the lamp from damage that may result from the lamp sticking out, ensuring that it lasts longer.
- The bulb comes with an easy-to-use plug
- They are long-lasting, lasting for over eight months, even with daily use
- Set up instructions are well-outlined on the box
- The aluminum dome helps boost the light
- The 50-watt halogen lamp bulb is unsuitable for those with large tanks
2. Zoo Med ReptiSun 10 UVB Florescent Lamp
This lamp offers both UVA and UVB lights. It is a 26-watt bulb that gives 30% UVA and 10% UVB lights. It is suitable mainly for desert reptiles, including tortoises.
The lamp uses a UVB transmitting glass quartz to allow maximum UVB penetration. It can emit the UVB light effectively from a distance of up to 12 inches away.
Zoo Med ReptiSun fluorescent lamp does not require any particular setup fixture, and you can screw it to your standard bulb socket. Depending on your preference and your turtle’s cage design, you can decide to place it either horizontally or vertically.
The product also comes with a one-year warranty which guarantees its quality besides giving you peace of mind.
- Suitable for a wide range of desert reptiles
- It uses power efficiently
- It comes with a warranty
- It has excellent UVB transmission and penetration capabilities
- It works best with desert reptiles only
3. Tekizoo UVA/UVB Sun Lamp
As the name suggests, this is a two-in-one lamp that emits UVA and UVB lights. You can also use it as a heat lamp for the basking turtles.
Its wattage is 80 watts, efficiently serving small to medium-sized turtle enclosures and turtles whose carapace length is 6 inches and below. It is also suitable for other reptiles, including geckos and iguanas.
This unit produces both UVA and UVB light making it quite convenient. In the end, it saves you the space and money you would require for the two separate units.
Tekizoo sun lamp doesn’t require unique socket fixtures. You can install it on the standard socket after ensuring that the socket is of good quality.
However, you should always ensure to fix it at a safe distance as it emits heat, which may overwhelm your turtles if left on for long.
The detailed instructions make it pretty easy to install. Another critical point is that you should fix the lamp in a dry area free from any moisture to avoid cracking, especially when heated.
- It is a two-in-one lamp, thus saving on cost
- It has an efficient power consumption rate
- The dual-lamp does not require unique fixtures to use
- It has well-outlined directions of installation and use
- It does not allow for the regulation of light and heat through dimming
4. Zoo Med PowerSun 100W UV Mercury Vapor Lamp
The Zoo Med PowerSun lamp is a mercury vapor lamp that emits UVA, UVB lights, and heat. It is one of the best aquatic turtles UVB and heat lighting kits.
It has a wattage of 100, which is pretty good for medium-sized enclosures. In addition, the product is crafted for use with standard ceramic sockets. The lamp also has a fair projection of the UVB light at distances of up to 12 inches.
When you buy this product, you will get a duo-pack, each with a 100–watt lamp. There are also the 80 and 160-watt lamps that you can choose for your smaller and larger turtle enclosures, respectively. Another plus of this UVB light for turtles is that it also has nickel-plating that ensures the lamp does not corrode.
- It is a three-in-one lamp providing both UVA and UVB lights and heat
- It is easy to fix and does not require specialized fixtures
- It delivers three different wattage lamps to choose from
- Has a fair UVB emission light from distances of 12 inches
- The bulb burns out too quickly
5. Zilla Slimline Tropical 25-Watt UVB
The Zilla Slimline tropical is an excellent choice of UVB bulb, especially for those who own tropical turtle species. One of the advantages of using this bulb is that it effectively spreads light and temperature across the tank, warming it evenly.
It comes with easy-to-fix fixtures that can be used on different surfaces, making it a worthy choice for different types of turtle tanks.
The 25-wattage bulb, although low, can supply a good dose of the UVB light, making it ideal for those who own one or two turtles.
Further, it has full-spectrum lighting, which enhances the color of the environment and your turtle. In terms of safety, Zilla Slimline comes with a plastic hood that offers some protection if the bulb falls.
- It features with easy-to-fix fixtures
- Offers high-quality fluorescent lighting
- Full-spectrum lighting enhances the color of the surrounding
- Come with a protective plastic hood
- It offers a side mounting option only, which is quite limiting
6. Exo Terra Repti-Glo 10.0 26 W Lamp
This fluorescent lamp is a 26-watt lamp that is an excellent choice for turtles and desert-dwelling reptiles. It is available in 26 and 13-watt options.
Either option offers a good UVB light source up to an impressive range of 20 inches! The lamp functions quite well in screened enclosures for those who prefer working with dimmed light.
You can use the standard fixtures to fix the lamp, either vertically or horizontally, depending on the design of your enclosure. The bulb has a small compact size and is self-ballasted.
However, being a fluorescent bulb with low wattage, the lamp doesn’t offer an excellent visible light output. For this reason, you should also get a great visual output bulb or lamp like the Repti Glo 2.0.
- Has a good range of UVB light
- Easy to install fixtures
- Works well with screened enclosures
- The spiral shape allows for both vertical and horizontal fixing.
- The low wattage may not work very well with some enclosures
7. Lucky Herp Reptile Light 5.0 23-Watt
Lucky Herp is a 23-watt fluorescent bulb ideal for tropical and subtropical reptiles like turtles, chameleons, and lizards.
The light emitted by this bulb is 5% UVB and 30% UVA light. It has a special glass that reduces the fading rate of UVB, which ensures the production of quality light throughout its lifetime.
The unit utilizes a standard E26 socket which is readily available in the market. It is also pretty easy to fix on any surface and design of your enclosure.
The bulb’s lifetime is short, about six months, after which it will either burn out or have reduced performance.
- Easy to install and use
- Works well with most enclosures
- Ideal for a variety of reptiles
- It does not require many skills to set up and use
- It has a shorter lifespan than most bulbs
8. Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 Fluorescent Bulb
The Zoo Med ReptsiSun 10.0 is another lamp from Zoo Med company that is a good recommendation for an excellent UVB source. It is a quality bulb that guarantees an extended lifetime and excellent service.
Reptisun 10.0 is a 26-watt bulb that emits 30% UVA and an impressive 10% UVB light which is more than enough for two turtles in the same enclosure. The range of the UVB light for this lamp is up to 20 inches which is a good range compared to the market average.
However, it being a fluorescent bulb means that it doesn’t give off too much heat, and for this reason, you will need to have an alternative heat source.
This bulb offers full-spectrum lighting that imitates the sun, making the surroundings look as if there were natural sunlight.
It is also suitable for various reptiles like turtles, geckos, iguanas, bearded dragons, and lizards. These bulbs have a lifetime of about six months before their performance starts decreasing.
- It is suitable for smaller tanks
- It offers quality UVB light for at least six months
- It uses full-spectrum lighting technology for better quality lighting
- ReptiSun 10.0 has an extended range of UVB light
- Its performance significantly reduces after six months.
Choosing the Best UVB Bulb For Your Turtles
When it comes to choosing the light UVB bulb for your turtles, you need to ensure that it will serve the purpose. For this, there are a few things that you should consider to ensure that you make an ideal choice. These factors include:
Size Of Your Turtle’s Cage
When buying a UVB bulb, it is always good to consider how big your turtle’s enclosure is. The bigger the cage, the stronger the UVB bulb should be. Buying a less-powerful bulb may not offer the best results, and hence your turtles may suffer.
Before settling for a bulb, it is always good to research whether the bulb will be a good fit for your pet turtle tank needs.
The Lifetime of the Bulb
Like any other bulb, the UVB bulbs have a given lifetime, some lifetimes shorter than others. Before buying a bulb, it is essential to consider its service life.
On average, UVB bulbs have a lifetime of about six months. If you can get a prolonged lifetime bulb, the better it will be for you and your finances.
The Number of Turtles
If you have more than one turtle in the same enclosure, choosing a stronger UVB bulb is crucial. Having more turtles will require you to have a more effective bulb so that they all get sufficient doses of UVB light.
However, if you have a smaller basking area, a smaller bulb may still serve the purpose even with multiple turtles in the same enclosure.
Before buying a given UVB bulb, it is crucial to consider its power consumption. The more powerful the bulb, the more power it will consume and thus the high the energy cost. It is good to have this in mind to help you make a cost-effective decision.
For those who own just one turtle, you may not need to go for the most potent and expensive bulb as much of that energy will go to waste.
Putting the above points into consideration before committing to buying a UVB bulb will help you make a more informed decision. However, even after choosing a given bulb, it is recommended that you check for its reviews online before making the purchase.
The reviews will provide you with more information as it is first-hand experience from the actual users.
Types of UVB Lights
Currently, there are three major categories of UVB bulbs which are are compact, tube, and Mercury vapor bulbs. All these are different in performance and prices.
Compact UVB Bulbs
These are standard-looking bulbs that you can screw into fixtures. They are also easy to fix, which makes them easy to use. A potential danger in using this bulb is that their condensed form may cause them to concentrate light in one spot, making it very hot, which, although rare, may pose a danger to your turtles.
When choosing these bulbs, it is crucial to avoid those with an inner reflective surface as this may cause eye problems to your turtles or even worsen those problems. You should also place them at a higher position as they also emit heat which may be harmful to your turtles if it is too much.
Tube UVB Lights
The tube UVB lights take the form of fluorescent tubes which stretch along the edges of your turtle’s enclosure. They are also relatively easy to fix, especially when the enclosure walls’ design accommodates them.
Their advantage over the compact ones is that they don’t cause eye problems for your turtles. At the same time, they last longer compared to compact UVB bulbs. However, as expected, they cost more compared to the compact bulbs.
Mercury Vapor Bulbs
They are similar to compact bulbs, but they are more sophisticated. They emit both the UVA and UVB lights and may also double up as a heat lamp for turtles. A mercury vapor bulb is an all-in-one solution for all your turtle lamp needs.
These bulbs offer an excellent solution in areas where electrical output has issues. They are efficient in emitting UVA light, which means that they can efficiently serve a considerably large area. Significant area light coverage ensures that light gets to all turtles, even those located far from the source.
However, the UVB light deployment is not as good since the light is concentrated in a small area below the bulb- this may hinder the shy turtles or those that are not very active as they might not receive sufficient UVB light from far distances.
The other downside to these bulbs is that they may concentrate heat in a small place, making it hot. Too high temperatures are harmful to your turtles. In addition, the bulb’s price tag can be quite limiting as it is considerably higher than that of the other two.
Tips For Choosing The Ideal Wattage For Your UVB Bulbs
In general, there are about four categories of wattage to choose from when getting your UVB bulbs. You can choose a 50, 75, 100, or 150-watt bulb. It is best to note that all these bulbs will emit enough UVB light for your pet turtles. The difference in wattage will be due to the turtle species you keep and how big your basking area is.
Choosing the proper wattage bulb ensures that you do not supply too much UVB light, thus hurting your turtles and also that it is not too low, leading to your turtles having insufficient supply. Selecting the correct wattage bulb will ensure that you supply the right amount of UVB light beneficial to your turtles.
If you only own one pet turtle in a relatively small cage, one 50-watt bulb will serve your turtle well; if you have two turtles in a medium-sized enclosure, a 75-watt bulb will do the job.
You will need at least a 100-watt bulb for three turtles in a large tank. Increasing the number of turtles to 5 will require you to procure a 150-watt bulb, or you can opt to use several 100-watt bulbs.
It is worth noting that the more powerful the bulb is, the more heat and light it will emit. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that you place the bulbs at a distance in which the heat effect is least harmful.
Too much brightness may also cause eye problems to your turtles; thus, you should be careful choosing the optimal distance.
There are those turtle owners who try moving the bulbs closer to the turtles to increase the UVB light supplied.
However, you shouldn’t do it as it will not improve the quality of light emitted. Instead, it causes eye problems to your turtles because of the increased brightness. It may also cause discomfort to your turtle due to increased heat.
Below are the recommended safe distances for placing the UVB bulbs relative to the number of turtles that you keep and the size of the enclosure;
- 50-watt bulb: a safe distance should be between 5-7 inches from the basking area
- 75-watt bulb: 7-9 inches’ distance is suitable
- 100-watt bulb: 9-11 inches from the basking area
- 150-watt bulb: between 11-14 inches
While these might not be the exact distances for every turtle species, they should guide you on which distances are safe for your turtles.
Choosing the proper distances ensures that your turtles are safe, and you do not waste electricity by supplying light that is not needed. The above rules will also apply when looking for the best basking lamp for turtles.
Precautions When Fitting A UVB Bulb
As a safety precaution, it is crucial to ensure that your bulb fixture can handle the wattage of the bulb. For instance, fixing a 150-watt bulb in a fixture that only operates 50-watt will burn the fixture, and this can potentially cause a fire. Before screwing your bulb, always ensure that it is compatible with the fixture you intend to use.
It is also ideal to use the recommended type of socket. Some UVB lights require you to use them with porcelain or ceramic sockets to avoid melting the standard ones.
When to Switch Off Your UVB Light
It would be best if you did not leave your UVB bulb on at all times. If this happens, it may cause too much heat in the basking area, making it uncomfortable for your turtles.
Also, too much light may make it hard for your turtles to sleep, which may hamper their development. For this reason, you should always ensure that you put off the light at some point each day.
The recommended period is usually between 12 and 14 hours of the lights. This will, however, vary depending on the needs of your pet turtles species and needs.
Most turtles prefer basking during the day and sleeping at night. By studying the pattern of your turtles, you will understand the best times to switch off the light. If the basking area gets too hot, you should switch off the lamp.